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A forum of houseboat owners have decided to launch an operation to cleanse Vembanad Lake of plastic material. The programme will be organised as part of the year-long silver jubilee celebrations of the Kerala houseboat tourism.

The celebrations will be inaugurated by Tourism Minister A.C. Moideen here on November 15. Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran, K.C. Venugopal, MP, Kodikkunnil Suresh, MP, and others will participate in the celebrations.

Kerala Houseboat Tourism Silver Jubilee Celebrations Committee general convenor Josekutty Joseph said at a press conference here on Monday that teams of workers would focus on various areas to collect plastic bottles and other floating material from the lake.

Cleaning works of a portion of the Alappuzha-Cherthala canal (AS) from Mattancherry to Kommadi bridge began here on Saturday.

Former finance minister and Alappuzha MLA T. Thomas Isaac said the municipality, residents’ associations, Lions Club of Alleppey and St. Mary’s Residential Central School were involved in the clean-up drive.

Machines to remove water weeds were sanctioned by the government under the Kuttanad package. CCTV cameras will be installed near the canal to ensure that waste materials are not thrown into it after the clean-up drive. Alappuzha North police station and Janamaithri police would extend support in this regard, Mr. Isaac said.

The former minister said the municipality would serve notices to institutions and companies that flowed waste water into the canal. A person would be deployed at the stretch to ensure that weeds that sprout up are removed immediately.

Mr. Issac said cleaning works would be taken up next at the beach and Punnamada lake shore.

A total of Rs.100 crore would be spent for taking the Muziris heritage zone project forward, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said on Saturday.

A maritime museum, spread across 40 acres and costing Rs. 50 crore, would be built in the heritage zone while another Rs. 50 crore would be spent to conserve and build museums and heritage sites in the locale, .

While expressing concern at the inordinate delay in completing works related to the project, he said that the second phase work on the heritage project would be completed in another three years. Addressing media persons here after a visit to Muziris, he said that Rs. 100 crore had been spent on the project.

“All components of the heritage project should have been completed by now, as per the initial schedule. But less than half the work is over. Only nine of the 20 museums are ready. Renovation of Kottapuram and Paravur markets is not even half way through. Similarly, construction of a museum near the Pattanam excavation site is encountering problems due to opposition from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The issue will be taken up with the Centre,” Mr. Isaac, who played a key role in kick-starting the conservation efforts a decade ago, said.

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